Gov.-elect Abbott: End local bans on bags, fracking, tree-cutting


Declaring that freedom and private property rights should not be bound by city lines, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott on Thursday called for doing away with a “patchwork quilt” of local bans on everything from paper and plastic bags to fracking that he said threatens to turn Texas into California.

“Texas is being Californianized and you may not even be noticing it,” Abbott said, addressing a downtown Austin conference hosted by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, an influential think tank. “It’s being done at the city level with bag bans, fracking bans, tree-cutting bans. We’re forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that is eroding the Texas model.”

“Now think about it,” Abbott said. “Few things are more important in Texas than private property rights, yet some cities are telling citizens that you don’t own some of the things of your own property that you have bought and purchased and owned for along time — things like trees.”

“This is a form of collectivism,” said Abbott, who will be inaugurated as governor on Jan. 20. “Some cities claim that trees that are on private property belong to the city, not the private property owner.”

The issue Abbott raises would seem to pit two conservative values against one another — unfettered property rights versus local control free of state interference.

Abbott said the threat to private property and freedom is huge because, “large cities that represent about 75 percent of the population in this state are doing this to us, and unchecked overregualtion by cities will turn the Texas miracle into the California nightmare faster than you can spell TPPF.”

“That is contrary to my vision for Texas,” Abbott said. “My vision is one where individual liberties are not bound by city limits. I will insist on protecting unlimited liberty to make sure Texas will continue to grow and prosper.”

A ban on single-use paper and plastic bags took effect in Austin two years ago. Dallas became the latest Texas city to regulate bags offered at retail check-out counters, imposing a nickle charge for the bags starting Jan. 1.

Austin and West Lake Hills, among other cities, also restrict tree removal on private property depending on the size and species of tree.


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